Rick Hobbs

Patrick 'Rick' Hobbs (5 February 1928 - 25 January 2010) was an English valet, personal assistant and professional driver. He was best known as Jimmy Page's loyal personal valet, a driver for celebrities in London, and the last person to see Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham alive.

Rick Hobbs was born in London, and was employed as an on-call driver for a valet company during the 1960s. Clients included included Sean Connery, John Travolta, Barry Manilow and Michael Caine. On one occasion in 1968, when a stunt driver failed to show up, Hobbs was asked to drive a Mini Cooper in the motion picture The Italian Job.

He was introduced to Jimmy Page during the 1970s and became a trusted employee. As Page's valet, personal assistant and a discreet member of Led Zeppelin's road crew (1977 - 1980), he was the last person to see John Bonham alive after assisting Bonham to a guest bedroom, past midnight on 25 September 1980, in Page's Old Mill House in Clewer, Windsor. He left Bonham on his side, propped up with pillows. Hobbs checked on Bonham's room around 8.00 a.m. He appeared to be sleeping fine. At 1.45 p.m. John Paul Jones and roadie Benji Le Fevre entered Bonham's room to check on him again. He did not stir and on Le Fevre checking his pulse, Bonham was found deceased. Sometime during the morning hours Bonham turned onto his back and asphyxiated. The coroner later returned a verdict of accidental death by pulmonary oedema.

In later years, Hobbs endured a long battle with Parkinson's disease, prior to his death at age 81. His funeral was attended by members of Led Zeppelin and their families. Hobbs' estate included an extensive record collection, and included pencil sketches by Pre-Raphaelite artist Sir John Everett Millais. It was later revealed the sketches, valued at an estimated £2,000 - £3,000, were mislaid by Page.

Filmography

  • The Italian Job (1969) [driver] (uncredited)

Bibliography

  • Case, George (2009) Jimmy Page: Magus, Musician, Man: An Unauthorized Biography. Rev. edn. Milwaukee, WI: Backbeat Books. ISBN 978-0-87930-947-3 (OCLC 244058456).

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